It’s undeniable: San Francisco’s downtown has been in the spotlight in 2022. Whether it be mounting tax concerns, a hollowed-out civic corridor, or fenced goods run-thru a boba store, there’s been plenty of attention on Market Street in the headlines.
Enter stage left: Dreamforce. The massive convention is back in the city this year and has already created a surge in Lyft prices and restaurant bookings. But that doesn’t mean going out to eat or hitting a local watering hole is out of the question this week, whether you’re one of the tens of thousands who flew in for the con or a local trying to enjoy a night out. Here are a few places in the greater downtown area to take a load off and, hopefully, avoid the crowds.
This English-owned and an actual hole-in-the-wall offers well-roasted coffee and outdoor seating on Geary Boulevard in the Tenderloin, a neighborhood rich with coffee options about a mile from the conferences’s festivities. Rather than beans and blood sausage, this shop offers California’s favorite breakfast, avocado toast, of course, alongside pour-overs and burnt caramel lattes.
Rather than spend 20 years waiting in line at the original Arguello location of this well-regarded French bakery, it’s easy to drop by the McAllister Street outpost for world-class croissants and breakfast sandwiches. Nestled between Civic Center and the Tenderloin, this shop is perfect for kouign amann, which are on the rise in the city; they go for $4.50, and dark roast coffees costs just $2.50.
This Tenderloin food hall has something for everyone, including Senegalese food, El Salvadoran cuisine, and Algerian specialties — plus combo plates for just $5. The nonprofit behind the food hall incubates immigrant women-founded food businesses, much to the delight of diners throughout the Bay. Just keep in mind hours are limited, running from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Just a few blocks away on Market Street, beneath the looming Twitter building, lies a much different type of food hall. The Market offers fancy cheeses and meats, Korean food and poke bowls to-go, and a few tables to work through your spoils. it’s an ideal place for grab-and-go lunch or hanging out in a casual atmosphere. There’s also a ramen destination, Jikasei Mensho, in the building in case you’re craving rich and creamy chicken-based noodle soup.
Literally next door to the Salesforce Tower, this shop from bar pro Dennis Leary quickly joined the ranks of the best sandwich shops in the city. Corned beef sandwiches on grilled focaccia are the main draw at this reopened player in the game. Breakfast starts at 7 a.m. and lunch ends at 2 p.m. so get your orders in early.
It’s well worth grabbing a seat at this new Vietnamese restaurant before it gets as popular as it deserves. Matt Ho’s pandemic pop-up turned permanent location serves outrageous yuzu oysters, bun cha, and ube panna cotta for dinner, though the lunch meal is more expansive, leaning into more familiar fare like garlic noodles and pho. Cocktails are also worth considering including the milk washed Le Citron Noir, spiked with whiskey and floral black tea.
Rene Denis’ Cuban and Colombian restaurant is a prime example of San Francisco’s booming Latin, South, and Central American food game. At this restaurant just a block from San Francisco city hall, guests come for the powerful drinks and bright atmosphere and stay for the dripping-off-the-bone ropa vieja.
Dynamite pizza is swaggering throughout San Francisco right now, perhaps no more so than at this new addition to the SoMa dining lineup. Featuring tiki-inspired drinks and natural wine by the glass and bottle, this restaurant isn’t far from the main Dreamforce attractions and actually serves three types of pizza: New York slices, thick Detroit squares, and thin Grandma pies.
One of San Francisco’s favorite craft cocktail spots, Kevin Diedrich and Andrew Chun’s newest bar Kona’s Street Market was nominated for Best New U.S. Cocktail Bar in the West. This haunt is excellent for lowkey vibes and high-end drinks made with global ingredients like date molasses, goat keffir, and ube-coconut whipped cream. This bar is just over a quarter mile from Moscone Center and stays open until 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. on the weekend.
This 6th Street bar is for dive bar lovers. Budweiser and Tecate go for $3, and La Fin du Monde and Delirium Tremens go for $8 — stay for the photo booth and chill atmosphere. Just shy of a mile from the main Dreamforce drag, this bar is worth the walk.
This vibey outpost is owned by the same team behind Louie’s and Connecticut Yankee, and the food is not to be slept on. Mac n’ cheese egg rolls go for $9, fried pickles with “mystery sauce” for $5, and chicken and waffles for $13. Walking over to Mid-Market, a little under a half-mile away, is obviously worth it in this event — the bar stays open until 2 a.m.